Over the last several weeks, large and small businesses alike have been forced to shutter their doors amid the COVID-19 crisis. As more and more people are confined to the safety of their homes, one pastime in particular has surged to the forefront: gaming.
It's been reported that Nintendo Switch consoles are in short supply as individuals with a suddenly large amount of free time rushed to acquire the systems, gaming usage is up 75% according to Verizon, and Steam has seen record numbers of users logging in. If you're interested in following the trends, you can keep track of what's popular on Steam over at SteamDB. Multiplayer games are also experiencing huge increases in players as people work to connect with their friends remotely rather than in their living rooms.
One game in particular, Plague, Inc. has seen a huge boost in sales since the Pandemic began. "Whenever there is an outbreak of disease we see an increase in players, as people seek to find out more about how diseases spread and to understand the complexities of viral outbreaks," Ndemic Creations said in a statement Thursday. The game, which puts the player in charge of creating a pathogen that will wipe out humanity, has been banned in China, but continues to see rising sales from other countries, including the U.S.
In the realm of eSports, while many in-person events have been cancelled, that hasn't stopped some teams from competing. The Overwatch League has moved all of its operations online until further notice, which is welcome news to quarantined gamers looking for some entertainment. League of Legends has also moved their games online, with many other leagues following suit.
Streaming has seen an uptick in home-bound users logging in to share their game play. Regular streamers are seeing a rise in viewership and participation and conversation in their chats.
In addition to gaming, live streaming video chat like Zoom and movie and TV services like Netflix and Disney+ are also seeing a rise in viewership. In fact, some of the streaming platforms released content early in order to give quarantined families something to look forward to.
What's been keeping you busy during quarantine?